Copyright © 2013, Juniper Networks, Inc.
White Paper - Integrating SDN into the Data Center
The need to support increasingly more complex and virtualized applications with greater agility and at lower cost is driving a wave of change in data networking. Over the years, applications have evolved from simply presenting data to being sources of timely information for business decision making. Applications have advanced from one per server, to virtualized multitier models on multiple servers, to highly distributed models on racks of servers, to natively virtualized, dynamic applications that can span entire data centers. At the same time, the user base has gone from a few specialists to many business managers to the entire organization, eventually including the supply chain and even customers using PCs and mobile devices from anywhere. Network architectures must adapt to serve these new application models by becoming easier to deploy and manage. This requirement is prompting a transition from traditional networking to software-defined networking or SDN.
As organizations plan to roll out new virtualized applications, they will need to consider how to transition to software-defined networking (SDN) and the impact it will have on the way they build their networks. As the number and type of applications that need to be managed continue to grow, there is an increasing need to connect disparate resources—some virtualized and some on legacy infrastructure, some local and some remote, and as SDN is adopted, there will be a need to connect to this environment. Making the transition to SDN will require the ability to convert from one connection type to another and from one environment to another. Juniper Networks is building network infrastructure that will enable organizations to effectively make the transition to virtualized networks, while maintaining access to existing data and applications and preserving investments in network hardware infrastructure. This paper will examine the development of and challenges with application architectures, and it will show how Juniper Networks
MX Series 3D Universal Edge Routers can support new application deployment models, providing a bridge between new SDN and legacy infrastructure and resources.
Evolving Application Architectures
Applications have been advancing to better serve businesses with timely, critical information. As a result, these applications have become increasingly distributed and are accessed by more people throughout the organization and its supply chain from many more locations. This evolution is putting tremendous stress on the network, which needs to evolve to accommodate these demands. Enterprise organizations have many thousands of applications running in their data centers that were built over the years and present various challenges to the network.In the early days of networking, everything was relatively simple. Applications ran on mainframes or minicomputers in the data center and were accessed from directly connected terminals, mainly to provide a few specialists with access to data records. With the arrival of client/server computing, organizations started deploying more specialized applications on servers attached to a LAN. Users accessed these applications locally with PCs or over leased lines from a branch office. There was only one application per server, but data sets and transaction volumes were growing. The demands on the network were more complex, as there was a need for switching and remote access. The mid 1990s saw the emergence of service-oriented architecture (SOA), where applications contained more timely and critical business information used to drive the business. Employees in branch offices accessed these applications over the WAN or the Internet. The supply chain got connected so that inventories could be managed and correlated with sales. These applications were built in a three-tier model with a Web front end, a business logic tier, and a backend data store, all running on racks of servers. In this model, there was more traffic between tiers, but it flowed primarily in a north-south direction from the users to the application. The demands on the network grew with the greater need to connect over the WAN and the Internet and a greater need for network segmentation. The multitiered nature of the applications required additional network services such as server load balancers for the Web front end, a WAN optimization controller to increase throughput, and firewalls between the application tiers. Setting up the network became a major operation; provisioning was slow and cumbersome, as it was a manual process requiring every device to be touched and configured. More recently, organizations have begun using cloud-based applications to run the business in near real time. These applications are distributed and modular, with racks of servers required for each business process such as inventory, sales transactions, and fulfillment. They create a vast amount of inter-application traffic and require hundreds or even thousands of network connections to stitch them together. Users everywhere—employees, customers, supply chain— connect to them using a variety of devices. The advent of cloud computing also saw the rise of process automation tools for Dev/Ops. Traditional networking, with its manual processes, continued to be a burden on the organization, slowing deployment and limiting business agility.